Last night, Union County freeholders voted unanimously (9-0) in support of granting county employees domestic partner benefits. According to one person who attended the meeting “[the freeholders] all cited Laurel Hester as their inspiration”. Lt. Hester has served in Ocean County’s prosecutor’s office for 23 years and has inoperable cancer. She would like to pass her pension benefits on to her partner, which is the only way she would be able to afford to keep their home, but the Ocean County freeholders have refused to grant her those benefits.
Last week, Mercer County also cited the situation in Ocean County as the reason why they were acting to pass domestic partner benefits. The person at the freeholder’s meeting continued: “I watched in tears – even if Ocean County doesn’t budge, Laurel has already helped so many with her courage and I wish she had seen it.”
If the Ocean County freeholders hope that this situation is just going to fade away, they are sadly mistaken. They are the laughing stock of not only New Jersey, but the entire country and if tourism declines next summer, they shouldn’t act surprised that people don’t want to visit the homophobia capital of the world.
The next Ocean County freeholder’s meeting is Wednesday, Dec 7th in Room 304, Third Floor, Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Toms River. If you’re from the county, come out in support of Lt. Hester.
You can also contact the following people and let them know how you feel:
Alan W. Avery (732) 929-2147
Gerry P. Little: (732) 929-2001
Joseph H. Vicari: (732) 929-2002
John P. Kelly: (732) 929-2003
James F. Lacey: (732) 929-2004
John C. Bartlett, Jr: (732) 929-2116
County Tourism Director
Barbara Steele – (732) 929-2000 firstname.lastname@example.org